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Sexual abuse in Ghana: Silence is no jewel

By Emma Wiafe

This is Ghana, our beloved country, where the only time any offence is discussed in-depth is when the perpetrator or victim is related to someone in power, however remotely.

Even then, motivation for bringing it into the limelight is to either lash out at the person in power or commiserate with him/her in the event the victim is related. The actual suffering of the victim…well no one really cares

The culture has become so acceptable that, no one really bothers to find out what solutions have been proposed after the ‘era of noise’ as harbingered by the numerous media houses has passed. Thank God- a little- for the media.

Like it or not, the cycle is one we have grown accustomed to and have resolved, albeit subconsciously, not to change anytime in the nearest future.

Physical abuse in this part of the world is likened to in the same manner as it is belittled to mere household misunderstandings that can be resolved in the presence of an abusuapanyin and a few other family members on a bench in the family house yard.

Beyond this geographical specificity, it is assumed to have travelled too far. In most cases, the victims are advised to take the matter home to be resolved subtly, to avoid bringing shame to the family

How can rape ever be resolved subtly when the child who is unforgivingly scarred for the rest of their life is sent back home to live in the same vicinity as the rapist?

How is an abused wife expected to cohabitate with the same monster who has turned her face into a training surface for his fists?

The most appalling part of this narrative is how all the noisy activists have conveniently managed to keep mum on the issue of making facilities available for victims to activate the healing process.

Maybe, such facilities cannot be afforded by the same pockets that dole out thousands of Ghana cedis to pay ministers of state who in their sleep can afford to party on the regular citizen’s life savings.

“The only way out of this is silence”, or at least that is what victims are told the few times they muster the courage to report one form of abuse or the other. The rest of the time, they are left to their own conscience to facilitate their own healing processes.

 If you think that is sad, YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE WORST OF IT.

The victims are charged unnecessary amounts of money for their statements to be taken. As if that alone is not enough, they are made to relive their stories to medical practitioners who care as much about these victims as they do about their white coats, just so they can take a test. To be tested to ascertain if they’ve been abused, they have to pay AGAIN.

From WhatsApp statuses to Facebook updates, people have taken up the laudable role of town criers to raise awareness on abuse and what should be done to prevent the avoidable ones.

Why is no one seeking justice for those who have already fallen prey, beyond sanctioning ignorant policemen who shun their responsibilities for more profitable ventures like taking bribes in traffic?

I dream a day that the impact of the noise will transcend punishing culprits to implementing measures that will help heal victims as well as reintegrate them into society sans the fear and insecurity they carry in their conscience.

This is the way forward. NOISE. Not the silence that is advised to avoid the shame families of abused people fear.

Ghana News